Foxes Of North America
In almost every neighborhood they are our neighbor. They’re the quiet guy that lives down the street and you know he lives there whether or not you run into him.
Most of North America has at least one kind of fox, with their cleverness and adaptability they live from the frozen tundra, forest, and grasslands to deserts. This is part of why though foxes are in the Canid / Dog Family and that makes them carnivores they are still opportunistic eaters. There are the things on the typical fox diet; rabbits, snakes, mice, rats, birds, road kill for instance, but depending on the region all kinds of “extra foods” will be added. They may include fruits, vegetables, berries, bugs, fish, eggs or whatever else helps fill the belly.
After a gestation period of 50-53 days the kits are born with their eyes closed. Usually 2-4 pups in a litter. Eyes will open in about 2 weeks, and somewhere around 5 weeks they will start to venture out of the den. Mom & Dad will work as a team taking turns hunting pixee fox to make sure their family stays fed. They are also excellent hoarders for the next lean time. Stashing and burying what they can’t eat for another meal. Foxes most often have a second “back up” den. This helps ensure their family always has a den to go to.
With so much thought on their family you would think a fox would run in packs, like wolves, but that isn’t so. A fox prefers solitary hunting and usually if you see them in groups its a family unit with older kids that haven’t left the den yet and are being taught the fine art of making a living.
The Arctic Fox camouflages well with it’s brown coat in the summer & white coat in the winter. The bottoms of their feet are furred to protect from the cold. They have some of the biggest litters of all foxes, probably due to their high mortality rate. Litters average 7 but have been documented having as many as 15!
The Swift is a very vocal little fox. Only about 40% of it’s historical range remains. No longer on the Endangered list in the United States but still is listed as Endangered in Canada. The Swift Fox was listed as extinct in Canada until reintroduction programs upped the population. It is still listed as protected in the US. They like Prairie Dog holes to use as its den, spends most of it’s time under ground. The Swift Fox gets it’s name from the fact that it is… faaast! It has been clocked running at more than 60 Km per hour.
The Gray Fox loves the canyons, open desert, chaparral, wooded areas and among boulders on the slopes of rocky ridges are some of the places this fox lives. Now these foxes have a unique trait, they can climb trees as if they were in the cat family.
They have a black tipped tail instead of the white tip the Red Fox has.
Now the Red Fox is one of the most common foxes. This is the one most of us have seen. The Gray and the Red Foxes are among the largest and the widest spread. Most of the Pacific states have a larger Grey Fox population then Red Fox. The farther east you go the more Red Foxes until on the other side of the states the Red is more prevalent. With this said… here in Colorado we see LOTS more Red instead of Gray Foxes.
The Silver Fox is most commonly found in the North Western part of the US. These pelts were worth a lot and so the poor Silver Fox was almost hunted and trapped out. Fortunately now under protection they are making a come back.
Then the tiny Kit Fox is listed as endangered in Colorado. It is considered one of the state’s most vulnerable animals due to the small population left. Kit foxes like to occupy semi-desert scrubland. They are one of the smallest of the foxes and like to spend most of they’re time underground. They live in small groups with multiple dens and multiple entrances. Emerging at night to hunt.